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A DC man repeatedly assaulted Capitol officers with a metal pole, the FBI says, but overwhelmed police had to let him go anyway

Mark Ponder, of NW D.C., is back in custody on multiple federal charges, including assaulting federal officers.

WASHINGTON — A Northwest D.C. man accused of assaulting officers with a metal pole during the Capitol riot is back in custody after initially being released during the chaos on January 6.

Mark Ponder was arrested Wednesday on preliminary charges including assaulting federal officers, entering restricted grounds, and obstructing an official proceeding.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in D.C., during the breach of the Capitol on January 6, Ponder used a metal pole to repeatedly assault officers attempting to hold the line at the West Terrace.

The complaint includes multiple still images from bodyworn camera footage appearing to show Ponder swinging a large metal pole at an officer, who defended himself with a riot shield.

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Officers eventually subdued Ponder and took him into custody temporarily, during which time the complaint alleges he repeatedly yelled, “Hold the line!” to other rioters. At one point, the complaint alleges Ponder told other rioters, “When our country is being attacked with, like we are, we have a right to fight… that is what the Second Amendment was built on.”

Ponder also allegedly lectured the officers while he was being detained, telling them, “You know, deep in your heart, you know… that your fathers, your grandfathers, they fought for this freedom in which people are giving away.”

According to the complaint, officers learned a transport would not be available for Ponder and that they were needed to return to the front line for continued crowd control. They then took Ponder’s information, including his address, and released him with instructions that he wasn’t allowed to return.

Ponder reportedly then left the area with one arm held high in the air while other rioters cheered him on.

The FBI says additional footage from the day shows Ponder did later return to the Capitol grounds almost two hours later, but that he left again after tear gas was deployed.

Police took Ponder back into custody on Wednesday. An initial hearing date has not yet been set.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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